It is of utmost importance that men and women of the church, today more than ever in history, would live to please God, work to be fruitful in this life we have been gifted to live, and engage the generations and their different and unique cultures around us for Christ Jesus our Lord. How do we do this? God tells us through the prophet Micah, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
Let’s all start by committing to live our lives with unwavering personal integrity and character.
Characteristics like sincerity, accountability, honesty, responsibility, faithfulness and justice. I was once told character is who we are when no one is watching.
The hard truth is God knows what kind of person we really are because nothing is hidden from Him.
Hebrews tells us, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). There is nowhere to hide from the intense gaze of the holy standard of God’s watchful eye. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8). There is no place to run. Try as we might, we can’t pull the shades closed and put out enough lights to hide from the eternal light of God and His truth. We have a strange and sinful disposition, which makes us think we’re able to keep our sins secret from the ever-present, all-knowing, all-powerful giver of life and author of creation. How thick can we get? God knows whether we have godly character and are choosing to live this life in integrity.
Integrity could be well summed up by this statement:
Integrity is when we willfully choose to stand up for what is right because it is the right thing to do.
The Psalmist asked a most probing question: “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart…” (Psalm 15:1-2). The way he starts to answer the question sure seems to poke at our conscience. Who has a place in the presence of God where He dwells? The one who is walking in integrity by living uprightly in truth and righteousness. Living uprightly in the global environment we find ourselves in these last days is going to require some tenacity to our commitment, and many times, sacrifices will need to be made. Solomon wrote that, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich” (Proverbs 28:6).
We may lose friends, jobs and opportunities because we choose to do the right thing, but it is always better to have a place in the presence of God than to have a life full of the rotting stench of materialism. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
The wicked will hate all who uphold justice; who tell the truth and live to do what is right before God.
“They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly” (Amos 5:10). We should never be surprised at the push back that we are guaranteed to receive when we align our decisions and actions with God’s heart on all the matters of this life. That uncomfortable rub is much better than the alternative of taking the path of least resistance, jumping headlong into the countless vortices of compromise that lead us to destruction and despair.
No matter how uncomfortable we become, as we endure the persecution that will come upon us at the hands of the wicked, one thing is for sure; we will always be indescribably blessed by the One who really matters when practicing integrity: God Himself. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:6-8).
Do you want to be blessed by our God and Savior? Good! Me too. I pray we would rather lose all that this world has to offer than to have any fleeting moment of this earthly existence where we would be separated from God’s great blessings and supernatural protection. Solomon wrote, “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints” (Proverbs 2:7-8). The age-old questions are if God is on our side, who can be against us? If God is the One blessing us, who should want more? The answer to both questions is no one.